Mercator to begin Gujarat drilling by December

Vol 15, PW 18 (22 Mar 12) Exploration & Production

Mumbai-based Mercator Petroleum wants to begin its delayed 23-well exploration and appraisal drilling programme at two onshore ‘S’ blocks in Gujarat by the end of this year.

PETROWATCH learns Mercator (100% and operator) has budgeted to spend Rs160cr ($31.85m) on the proposed drilling campaign at NELP-VII blocks CB-ONN-2005/9 and CB-ONN-2005/3, managed on its behalf by Mumbai-based, and Kapil Garg-promoted E&P player Oilmax. By December, Mercator wants to begin drilling 15 exploration/appraisal wells at the 132-sq km south-central Gujarat block CB-ONN-2005/9, which spans Vadodara and Bharuch districts.

Next, by early 2013, Mercator plans to begin drilling another eight wells at its 48-sq km north Gujarat block CB-ONN-2005/3, straddling the Mehsana and Ahmedabad districts. “We need two 1500-hp rigs for the drilling campaign,” confirms Oilmax.

“If we find ‘hydrocarbon formations’, we might also need a workover rig for initial well testing to establish the flow rates of oil or gas and the ‘formation pressure.’” Oilmax, he adds, is likely to issue a tender to hire rigs by mid-2012.

Each well under the proposed drilling campaign could take up to 45 days to drill to depths ranging from 3500 to 5000 metres. At CB-ONN-2005/9, Mercator wants to drill each well to 5175 metres TD while at CB-ONN-2005/3 it wants to drill each well to 4875 metres TD.

“We’re targeting the ‘Kalol’ geological formation,” adds Oilmax. “We might also target the ‘Cambay’, ‘Shale’ and ‘Olpad’ formations.

” Oilmax is currently interpreting 545-lkm 2D and 132-sq km 3D shot and processed by Hyderabad-based Alphageo in early 2011 across the two blocks. Mercator signed the PSC for both blocks on December 22, 2008, but secured the all-important Petroleum Exploration License only in June 2010.